Tue, Aug 21, 2012.
You know I loves me a good house concert, and here's a twist on the format, which promises to work just as well. Gallery 78 in Fredericton is a high-end art gallery in one of those old, classic Victorian houses right along the St. John River, across from the famous Green. It has a nice big front room that overlooks the river, and of course is full of wonderful paintings and sculpture. They've held quite a few events there in the past, from artists talks to concerts, and I can attest to the great vibe the room provides. The setting is superb.
On Wednesday, Aug. 22, the gallery will host their latest in a string of house concerts, presenting what I think will be a gem. I've had a CD in my collection since 2005 which I adore, S&M Communion Bread, by Stacey Earle & Mark Stuart. Earle the sister of Steve, just here FredRock, while Stuart is her long-time musical partner, and husband as well. Stacey has kept her career a lot more low-key than her brother, or her nephew, Justin Townes. She and Stuart have preferred the indie world, running their own label, and touring by themselves, playing just these kind of shows. They criss-cross North America, playing dozens and dozens of smaller dates a year, and actually were way ahead of the curve on that front, now that so many other artists have chosen that simpler path. Both are veterans of Steve's band, The Dukes, as well.
The disc I have is just one of eight they have made, and I must pick up a couple more at the show. Earle handles most of the vocals, but Stuart chimes in with some, and with harmonies throughout. She has a classic, old-time voice, a bit of a twang, filled with rural charm. The music they make ranges from something that could have come from an old hymnal to easy-going tunes with a modern melody and lilt. Both are grand players, and are happy to throw in intricate moments. Rather than limit themselves to someone's definition of Americana, they do want comes naturally, writing songs in Gospel, pop, country, blues, whatever fits the best. I'm getting chills right now listening to them harmonize on the a capella number The Old Gospel Ship.
The good news is that there are still a tiny few tickets left for the Wednesday show. You can get them at Gallery 78, or by contacting Emma at firstname.lastname@example.org. The show starts at 8 PM, and tickets are $25.
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Bob Mersereau has been covering music, and the East Coast Music Scene since 1985 for CBC. He's a veteran scene-maker at the ECMA's, knows where the best shows and right parties are happening, and more importantly, has survived to tell the tales. His weekly East Coast music column is heard on Shift on Radio 1 in New Brunswick each Wednesday at 4'45. He's also the author of two national best-selling books, The Top 100 Canadian Albums (2007) and The Top 100 Canadian Singles (2010).